17 Tips To Help You Manage Your Diabetes During The Winter Holidays
With diabetes you face a challenge with holiday parties and long-distance travel plans. There's so much temptation from food and drink that it’s easy for your blood sugar to get out of control! With some advance planning and healthy lifestyle choices, it's possible to celebrate this special time of year while still managing your diabetes.
1. Slim down favorite recipes. Experiment with using less butter, sour cream, cheese, and sugar into your traditional dishes. Use fresh herbs for more flavor.
2. Control portions. Grab a smaller plate. Limit your portion sizes and chew slowly and reflect on the actual taste of the food you’re eating.
3. Eat a healthy snack before the holiday party. Much like shopping at the grocery store on empty, arriving to a holiday part when hungry risks overeating.
4. Limit alcohol. Alcohol can have a huge negative affect on your blood sugar when combined with your diabetes medication resulting in a risk of hypoglycemia. Not to mention that mixed drinks or cocktails are often high-calorie drinks. If you want to indulge with a drink, follow guidelines for moderate drinking (1 light beer or glass of wine for women and up to 2 for men).
1. Walk. Walking after meals not only helps with digestion, but it has also been proven to help the body regular blood sugar levels.
2. Strength Train. Strength training with a coach (like me!) who’s trained to work with chronic illnesses like diabetes and other autoimmune diseases can help you safely build strength. Increasing muscle mass has been shown to improve the body’s use of insulin. Which can help slow disease progression.
3. Make Movement a Family Affair. Take everybody out for an afternoon of ice skating or hiking. Children learn by example and the more healthy habits you instill early, the more likely your children will have those habits as an adult.
1. Pack extra medication. Fill your suitcase with twice as much medication as you expect to need. There could be heavy traffic and long airport delays during the holiday rush.
2. Bring along pertinent information. Stick a written note in your pocket or handbag with your medical insurance and doctor's contact information. Ensure your syringes and insulin are in their original pharmacy packaging with their preprinted labels.
3. Advise others of your condition. Let at least one person know you have diabetes. Mention it to a travel companion or the flight attendant.
4. Keep your insulin cool. Insulin overheats easily. Put it in an insulated bag with cooling gel packs.
5. Move around. Sitting for a long time can increase your risk of blood clots. On car rides, take breaks every couple of hours to walk around. Walk the aisle on a plane or rotate your ankles occasionally.
6. Eat right. Ask the airline for a diabetic meal or prepare your own food. Use an insulated bag to bring yogurt, baby carrots, and whole grain pitas.
7. Check international regulations. Prescription laws vary by country. Let your doctor know your destination if you have any concerns.
1. Check your blood glucose more frequently. Any changes in your daily routine can affect your blood glucose level. Monitor your blood sugar more often during the winter holidays, especially if you’re attending more holiday parties.
2. Gather your family health history. Like many conditions, family history plays a big part in diabetes. Use family gatherings to find out if your relatives have similar health issues and support each other in getting the care you need.
3. Talk with your doctor. It's always important to talk with your doctor and health care team about your individual needs. They can advise you about modifying your diet and other ways to manage your health issues.
Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying all the festivities of this time of year. You can still enjoy your holiday season while keeping yourself in top condition with some simple tips and tricks that will help keep your diabetes under control.
If you want more information on my online autoimmune coaching program, contact me here. I would be happy to share more about how I work one-on-one with clients like you who are looking for a plan they can follow through the holidays without compromising their health or enjoyment!